Federal police probe two-seat candidate

·3-min read

A federal election candidate has been referred to the Australian Federal Police after nominating himself for two different political parties and seats.

Malcolm Heffernan, who is listed as a financial advisor, is now under investigation after using two different birthdays and two names to declare himself as a candidate for the election.

The two nominations were for Pauline Hanson's One Nation in the NSW seat of Banks, and the Australian Federation Party for the West Australian seat of Brand.

In a statement, the Australian Electoral Commission said the nominations for two electoral divisions were in contravention of the Electoral Act.

"Given these declarations are false the AEC has now referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation as to whether a crime has been committed," the statement reads.

"We have notified Mr Heffernan and both registered political parties regarding this referral."

Each nomination form had a signed declaration that the candidate did not intend to run as a candidate in any other election held the same day.

The contravention means that Mr Heffernan cannot be elected, but the candidate nominations for the two electorates must remain, as they were formally declared last week.

Ballot papers have been printed, and some voters have already received their postal voting packs.

Mr Heffernan told AAP on Friday his nominating for two parties was "not intentional".

He said One Nation had submitted the paperwork without notifying him, after previously saying they would not accept his nomination due to him previously running for another party in an election.

"Who would nominate for two parties? Of course they would get caught," Mr Heffernan said.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation said in a statement the party would cooperate with the AFP's investigation and undertake its own "internal investigation".

"One Nation expresses its disappointment the AEC did not detect Mr Heffernan's dual nomination before the close of nominations," the statement said.

"One Nation accepted Mr Heffernan's application to be a candidate in good faith, including his statement that he was not a member of another political party. We will nevertheless undertake a review of our candidate vetting process to ensure this does not happen in the future."

Australian Federation Party director Mark Aldridge told The West Australian newspaper he was confident the AFP investigation would clear Mr Heffernan, and that he should remain a candidate for Brand.

"At some stage later the One Nation paperwork was filed in NSW. The candidate himself wasn't aware of that and has supplied text messages supporting his belief he was free to run for us," he said.

Mr Heffernan ran as a candidate for Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party in 2019, for the seat of Canning in WA.

He said he had lived in Canning for more than 15 years, and lived in Perth Hills at the time of that election.

He was also a One Nation candidate for the 2021 WA state election, listing his address as Bedfordale in Perth's southeast.

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